Monday, October 30, 2017

Haunt The House: A Fun Ghost Game

It started out as a joke gift from a friend (you know who you are) during a Steam Halloween sale a few years ago -- and then we both discovered a fun game. If you want some silly fun to balance out your horror games, this would be the game to pick.

Aside from having a fantastic, old-timey soundtrack with great themes for each location, there are a number of ways in which to play this game and have fun. The game has expanded in the three years I have owned it, and I've discovered new content as recent as a few months ago!

My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I THINK originally the game only had Terror Town (hence the title) and the Mansion House. The Mansion House, I'm thinking, was the original portion of the game -- I think this because of the art style -- it looks to be of poorer quality compared to the rest of the game, and I distinctly recall working on achievements related to it. But hey, maybe I'm not remembering correctly!

Ghost Train and North Pole came later, and they're wonderful gems. Thematically they're spot-on and a delight to play. The Ghost Train is actually a carnival/circus train with everything you'd expect to see all aboard a moving train. Your goal is to get everyone to jump off. North Pole is a large department store building stuffed full of Christmas goodness. Your ghost appears to be someone who froze out in the cold, so of course you want to make everyone just as miserable as you no matter what the season is.

But going back to Terror Town, you have a very specific agenda! Not only are you tasked with scaring everyone out of all the buildings in town, but you have to reclaim what was lost -- that is, there are other ghosts you have to call back to the bell tower. Once you've found/released/returned all of them, you can then play them in the game and each has its own special spooky sound.

As a ghost, you can possess all of the objects in the game. The scarier you make the atmosphere, the more choices you have when you possess an object. Max out the atmosphere and you can do some epic spooks that make your entire screen flash and send whole groups of people fleeing in terror! Many of the actions you can take in an object are downright hilarious if you take the time to explore all of the options after maxing out the atmosphere. (There are achievements for using every ability in every object, so it's well worth it to test them all -- it will help you when you replay the areas to get some other achievements!)

Right now you can pick up the game for a whole 99¢ in the Steam store, or get the soundtrack version for $1.39. It's money well spent if you're wanting a fun diversion from horror games but still want to enjoy Halloween!

Just a shout out to a few anonymous donors in the last couple days -- THANK YOU for donating! Your dollars make a big difference for the kids at Children's National.

If YOU would like to get a personalized shout out and have a shot at some awesome incentives (i.e. games, drawings, Amazon gift card), please consider making a donation of your own on my Extra Life page.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Marathon Day Schedule

Here it is in all its glory! I will be playing these 17 games next Saturday, November 4th. I will be in my public Steam group chat for the entire marathon and I welcome everyone who has a Steam account to stop in and cheer me on!

I'm currently sitting at $165 out of $500. If you can't be around for the marathon, please consider donating on my Extra Life page. No donation is too small! Every dollar helps the children at Children's National.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

RIFT: Four Years Ago Today

Look at that beautiful Bahmi rogue! Her name is Kantri, and I created her four years ago today in the game RIFT. The nice people at Trion Worlds are big supporters of Extra Life, so they offered up a few freebies to the participants. I took the incentive and marvelous things happened!

Alright, not at first.

I had fun putzing around in the game on my own for a while. A friend told me she played and I swapped servers... and then I never saw her in the game again. (You know who you are. *scolds*) But then I felt really lost and couldn't seem to figure out where to go by my lonesome... so I stopped playing for a really long while.

I returned to the game in early 2015 and found myself in the middle of a zone event. For the first time ever there were a few people giving instructions to us clueless players and it actually helped us get the event done successfully. I caught the name of one person's guild and promptly asked for an invite. It ended up being a HUGE, disorganized guild... but was better than being all by my lonesome.

(Spoiler alert: RIFT, the guild in RIFT, and my Extra Life streaming on Twitch brought me closer to another RIFT player in the guild -- I am presently married to him. Yes, in real life. Just another reason why Extra Life means so much to me!)

I was very active in the guild for the rest of that year, even scooting all the way up to an officer position where I helped lead the raids and was also in charge of the RP (which was a lost cause unless all the kids were on summer break). I left the guild in late December with a few others because we disagreed about how some things were being handled.

Three months later, after having quit my job and moved 800+ miles to Mississippi, I went back to RIFT and created my own little guild called Spectral Gryphon. It's still there, and not very active, but I maintain it anyhow. I don't want to return to a crazy, large guild, and I hope to one day play some more with my friends and husband.

Let this be a lesson for you: Good things may just be waiting for you to take a chance. Oh yeah, and use those freebies you get if you're an Extra Life participant! They're a complete game changer, if you know what I mean!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Two Weeks Until the Extra Life Marathon!

I can hardly believe that this year's Extra Life Marathon is only two weeks away! I feel like I haven't done nearly enough this year to promote the charity or how hard my team members have been working to raise awareness. I'm going to shift gears, so buckle up!

What you can expect to see here in my blog in the coming weeks:

That's certainly a lot... At least if I don't get to everything I can say I still did plenty! My plan is to go ahead with the 24-hour Marathon on November 4th even though I'm unable to stream any of it. I will, however, be in the Steam group chat for the public group Snarkqueen #ForTheKids -- and I invite anyone and everyone to join in and follow my adventures throughout the day!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

PSA: Harvestmath is Back!

One of my favorite festivals in The Lord of the Rings Online is here: Harvestmath! I could ramble for ages about how much fun it is to run the quests through the Haunted Burrow, or how much silliness there is in playing Tricks on people from Ered Luin to Bree, bobbing for apples, picking pumpkins... In the end, I do it for the festival mounts and cosmetics. Those always seem to be fantastic compared to other festivals throughout the year.

This year's gorgeous mount is called Steed of the Eldar Autumn, and there's a set of Leafmail cosmetics (even a shield!) to match. I'm busy running through the festival quests on a daily basis for my elves who must have these things to out-pretty other elves. (This is why we casual players festival ourselves to death, right? Collect all the cosmetics and toys!)


Now, in favor of the fact that today is a certain Green Owl's birthday, I haven't played any more Costume Quest this week. We'll see tomorrow when he checks in (if he doesn't party too hard today!) if he's caught up to me or surpassed my totals!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Costume Quest, Part One: Bullies, Grubbins, Candy & Apples

Part One of my escapades in Costume Quest, in which I out-maneuver a bully with some sweet air time, lay the smack down on some Grubbins, collect all the candy, and bob for apples repeatedly because mini games are fun.

[This blog entry is part of a series taking place throughout the month of October.]


So, I mentioned last time that your sibling gets kidnapped by a Grubbin (ugly green guys who are stealing all the candy in town) because your lame-o sibling is dressed up like a piece of candy corn. They've been thrown over this massive, ominous-looking gate and the only way to get it to open is to trick-or-treat your way through all of the available neighborhood. To do this, there are a bunch of other things you have to do.

The first obstacle, after you get your swanky robot costume restored (we've gotta find that witch and figure out why she blew our costume away in the first place) is getting past this gang of kids dressed up like mummies. The leader is hitting a kid dressed up like a knight, and you decide that just isn't cool with you.

After the bully foolishly tries to race you (swift-skating robot that you are), you get some sweet air time by going over a ramp while the bully crashes into a pile of trash cans right in front of the local police officer -- who threatens to call his parents, which sends him running home. You become instant besties with the knight in shining armor and gain access to another costume's powers when you fight the Grubbins.

Your new buddy Everett suggests a visit to Sadie in the park, who apparently sells things called Battle Stamps. By trading candy for these stamps, you get some sweet bonuses during your battles. I was reluctant to part with my candy at first, but some of the fights were actually rather hard (and I was defeated -- but thankfully didn't lose anything valuable) and I told myself I'd just whack more stationary objects with my candy bucket to make it rain candy.

The park also contains one of my favorite things I've encountered thus far: bobbing for apples. It's a fun, timed mini game that offers different prizes as you play -- notably candy, but also a nice Creepy Treat. Green apples give you 3 points, red give you 1, and you're gonna regret biting into one of those wormy apples -- bleck!

There were other quests to tackle in the area, of course: 6 trick-or-treaters hiding around the neighborhood (the reward is your second candy bag); having to put together a patriotic costume to get into a kid's patriotic party so you can steal cherries from his tree; giving said cherries to your principal who's blockaded a street with her bake sale and won't let you pass until you help her out; trading Creepy Treats with a couple of the local kids; and trick-or-treating at all 20 of the area's houses. Once you get all 20, the Grubbins are called away and that massive gate finally opens, letting you and Everett go rushing off to save your unfortunate, less-cool sibling.

I'll let you know how that goes next week. For now, here's the current total in the competition between myself and Green Owl. He promises to give me more competition next week when he can put in some more game time! (Bring it!)

1 point for every 100 candy pieces, 1 point for each other category lead.

I hope you're enjoying the Halloween adventure so far, and I truly wish I could share some of the gameplay with you. I encourage you to look for other Extra Lifers who might be streaming this game this month! As always, please consider donating to help the charity. Every dollar is #ForTheKids.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

How to Trick-or-Treat All Month Long

Yeah, you read that right. Sweet, sweet candy throughout the entire month of October. How? Let me tell you about Costume Quest.

Costume Quest is this amazing game by our lovely friends at Double Fine Productions. The game originally released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2010 and wouldn't reach PC gamers until a port happened a year later. It was later made available for Mac and Linux through a Double Fine Humble Bundle, in case you needed any further proof of how awesome they are.

If you have had the misfortune of never hearing about this game, I will enlighten you: Some ugly dudes are stealing all the candy in town, have taken your sibling (mistakenly), and you have to trick-or-treat your way through the neighborhood collecting costumes that let you have Power Ranger zord-like battles to earn battle stamps, racking up your candy total, and finding neat things like creepy treats.

Basically, if you liked all the glory of trick-or-treating as a kid, you're going to enjoy this game. I promise. Pinky-swear, even.


So, throughout the month of October I will be playing the game bit by bit, and I'll be doing my best to share some of the highlights with you (which probably means spoilers, so you've been warned!). I've streamed the game in previous years on Twitch for Extra Life, but have yet to actually finish the game. My motivation this time? I am playing to compete! My wonderful team member, Green Owl, is also going to be playing the game throughout the month and we're going to compare our loot collections once a week. The winner will get bonus points for the Mascot Mayhem competition. He's also from Spain, so I don't know if any of the American Halloween culture will go over his head or not -- I'll let you know!

I can't really say much else about the game just yet. I know this witchy chick pictured here is some kind of antagonist-y villain who finds you annoying. But just when you think she's ruined your night more than your crummy sibling and ugly candy thief have, someone points you in the right direction...

The next blog entry will either be the first update on Costume Quest progress and loot collections, or a very overdue team member interview. Whichever it is, I hope you'll keep reading and enjoying what I share. Please remember I'm doing this #ForTheKids and they'd appreciate your donations.